Tag Archives: growth

Empowering Growth

I’m nowhere near a professional gardener, but I do love planting a small garden each spring. There’s just something about tilling some earth, planting seeds, watering them, watching them grow and then enjoying the results. I’ve noticed though that sometimes my plants produce the minimum amount of vegetables while someone else brings in a bumper crop. Ive learned that there are a lot of variables that make them different. The soil is one of the greatest factors in how well the plants will do. It needs the right amount of vitamins and minerals for the plants I have to help them. There also the amount of water and sunlight they receive as well that will affect how they grow. The more I adjust these three things, the greater the more I can empower them to grow and produce.

As Christians, we’re not so different. Christianity is not just a one time event where we accept Jesus as our savior. It’s a lifetime of growth that comes after His seed is planted in our heart. In Matthew 13, Jesus told the parable where a sower scattered seeds among 4 different soils. Three out of four seeds sprouted, but only the ones in the seeds that were in good soil produced the crop he was looking for. The environment we’re in has a lot to do with our growth. Another thing we can do to empower our own growth is to stay watered in the Word of God. We can’t just live on the water we receive on Sundays. We must get watered daily. Finally, we must be exposed to the Son. Prayer is our time with the Son who causes us to be healthy and to grow. When these three things are consistent in our lives, we will not only grow, but produce fruit which is to create and empower other believers to grow.

Romans 15:2 says, “Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity” (TPT). Every one us need to have the goal of not just maturing ourselves, but to empower others to grow and produce as well. You have the power to create the atmosphere around you. Are your words and actions toward others creating an environment where others can grow? Are you fertilizing the seeds that have been planted in their heart? Does your life reflect the Son? Our goal should be to do these three things consistently. We need to make sure we are headed for maturity, and that we are empowering others to mature as well.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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Owning Your Growth

From the very beginning of the Bible, we learn that God is a gardener. It says in Genesis that He planted a garden in the middle of creation. He didn’t simply speak it into existence like everything else. He took the time to plan and decide where He would plant each tree. He carved rivers around it to water it so that it would remain fertile. He walked in it every evening to enjoy it and to care for it. Then He placed Adam in there to be its caretaker. I think growth occurred naturally in that time because when Adam and Eve were removed from the garden, God told them that from now on they would have to sweat to get growth. There would be thistles and other things that would compete for the resources that he would grave to remove in order to achieve optimum growth. It then says that Adam began to cultivate the ground as soon as they left the garden.

God put the desire to create growth in each one of us. Some of us grow gardens. Some of grow families. Some money. In any case, if you look at your life, you’re spending a considerable amount of energy trying to achieve growth somewhere in something. Where we focus our time and energy is really what’s important to us since time and energy are our most precious commodities. What is it that you’re trying to grow? Will it matter for eternity? Is it only for your benefit? Each of us have to look at our lives to see if we’re growing the right things, and if we are doing the right things to create that growth.

2 Peter 3:18 says, “But continue to grow and increase in God’s grace and intimacy with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (TPT). Growth in maturity of our faith is required of each of us. Your Faith is not your pastor’s garden to tend. It’s yours. This message was from Peter, who was the head of the Church at the time. He was telling believers everywhere to own their growth. What are you doing daily to own your own growth? We must make sure we’re watering our lives with God’s Word. We have to pull the weeds of doubt constantly. We need to have a plan for the areas we need to grown in. If you’re going to own your growth, you’re going to have to start cultivating new ground in your faith and do the work of a gardener. Your pastor can give you the tools, but you must do the daily work.

Photo by Veronica Reverse on Unsplash

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The Garden Of Life

On one of my trips to Israel, we visited one of the places recognized as the place where Jesus was buried. As we walked into the Garden Tomb area outside the current walls of Jerusalem, a person behind me said, “This looks like a cemetery.” I laughed, turned around, and said, “That’s because it is!” The place is beautiful and peaceful. It’s easy to forget where you are as you stroll through the garden. It doesn’t feel like a touristy spot like so many places here do. It’s a relaxing a spiritual experience for sure.

After looking at Golgotha and going inside the tomb, we stepped aside and took communion. As I was holding the bread and the juice, I kept thinking about my comment that it was a cemetery. This was a garden with a tomb in it really. As I thought about that more, and we took communion, I began to reflect on the garden aspect of the place. A garden is a place where things grow. It’s a place where life thrives.

What better place for Jesus to be buried than in a garden, a place of life. Jesus came so that we may have life, and life more abundant. As I looked around this garden, I kept thinking about how it was a reflection of who He was. It was a place of peace for the Prince of Peace. It was full of life like the giver of life Himself. Jesus wasn’t buried in a place that was surrounded by other dead bodies. He was surrounded by life.

As I walked away from that place, there was a small plaque of John 14:6. In that verse, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the LIFE.” I had always focused on the first two, but had rarely thought about what it meant for Him to be the life. He can grow the most beautiful things in our life where it looks like a cemetery. He can speak life into your most impossible situation because there is nothing too hard for Him. Don’t look at the problems in your life as an end. Give that to the Lord and He will turn them into a place of life and growth like the garden near His empty tomb.

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Learning From Lessons

Often times, at the end of a lesson, I like to ask the group, “What were your key take aways?” What I really want to know is what they learned and what they’ll implement once they leave. As we go around the room, several people will give the same one. It’s always cool for me when that happens because there was a moment when lots of lightbulbs came on at one moment. They had an epiphany that there is something they’re not doing that’s holding them back, and they need to make a change in that area. If we never have those moments, we’ll keep on doing what we’ve been doing, and there’s little growth in that.

When you and I go through something, I often wonder if God is asking us what our key take aways are. I believe God wants each one of us to learn and grow. We should be constantly moving in the direction He’s leading us into. Along the way, there will be lessons to learn so that we can accomplish something He has for us down the road. God has great plans for each one of us, so we must be ready to learn and adjust along the way. John the Baptist said, “I must decrease, and He must increase,” to explain the change that needs to happen.

David was another person that learned lessons as he transitioned from a shepherd to a king. Before he became king, he shared some key take aways all of us can learn from in Psalm 27:14. He said, “Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!” (TPT) Because He was able to learn these things and implement them into His life, God was able to exalt him to king. Imagine what God can do in your life if you’re willing to learn what He’s teaching you right now.

Photo by Marcos Luiz Photograph on Unsplash

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Relationship Goals 


When I was a teen, someone told me, “You become like those you run with.” When I was a young adult, someone told me, “You show me who your friends are, and I’ll show you who you are.” Then several years later, someone told me, “If you want to soar with eagles, you can’t be scratching around in the dirt with turkeys.” All these reminders have been about the importance of choosing who you choose to hang out with. Either the group you’re with will hold you back or help you get to that next level.

As I’ve lived my life, I can honestly say that these messages are true. Close relationships are the greatest influencers of your success or failure. If you’re constantly failing and are stuck in a bad place, you need to walk away from the relationships that are holding you back. Your life will not change until you change your relationships. If you want your life to improve, associate with people who are ahead of you and are moving in the right direction. This works for spiritual and economic growth.

As Paul was grooming Timothy to be a leader, he gave him the same advice. 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Strive for righteousness, faith, love, and peace, together with those who with a pure heart call out to the Lord for help” (GNT) Paul wanted Timothy to understand it’s difficult to grow on your own. You need other like minded people who are headed in the same direction to help you get there. Proverbs 27:17 tells us that as iron sharpens iron, one person sharpens another. You need people around you who will make you sharp. 

When coaching or counseling people, I let them know that they need someone ahead of them that they can follow. They need someone beside them that can challenge them. They also need someone behind them that they can help get to the next level. Finding the right relationships is one of the most difficult tasks in life. That’s why it’s preached to you since you were young. It’s never to late to make the changes you need to make. If you’re ready to soar with eagles, spread your wings and leave the turkeys behind. 

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Go Farther


Recently I took my family to the beach for a weekend getaway. I was scared to let my five-year-year old son go into the ocean. He and I sat right where the waves washed up on the shore. It was fun for a while, but then my son said, “I want to go out there,” as he pointed into the ocean. I didn’t want to take him out there because I was scared of the unknown. How deep was it? Were there drop offs? What would happen if we got pulled out by the current?

After holding him off for a while, I finally consented to his relentless desire to leave the shore. I waded out to where the water was halfway up my calf, but he said, “Go farther!” I then went out to where it was just above my knees. We let the waves crash against us, but he insisted, “Go farther!” I finally went out to waist-deep water, but I refused to go farther against his wishes. I was scared that if the water got any deeper, I would no longer be in control of the situation.

As we were out there, I couldn’t help but think how if God were an ocean, the Holy Spirit would be calling me to go farther into Him. Like me, many of us are afraid to go deeper than our ability to have control. We are afraid to explore the depths of who God is beyond our understanding, so we sit on the shore just wetting our feet or wade in waist-deep. We ignore the Spirit’s calling to go farther because what we discover about who God is may not fit into our boxes that we have placed Him in.

According to NOAA.gov, we have explored less than 5% of the oceans on earth. I wonder if that’s how much we have explored the depths of God. In I Corinthians 2:10-11, Paul wrote, “The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God” (MSG). If we want to explore the depths of God, we need to be led by His Spirit who knows Him intimately.

The most powerful, yet most underutilized gift God has given to each of us as believers is His Spirit. If we as Christians won’t explore the depths of God, how will we lead others to explore Him? You can only lead others as far as you have gone. We must be willing to hear the Spirit say, “Go farther,” and then to let Him lead us there if we are going to experience the growth God is looking to get out of us. We have to set aside our fear, relinquish our control, and let the Holy Spirit sweep us away into the unknown depths of God.

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Show Your Progress (Video)

Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.
I Timothy 4:15 (NLT)

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